Tsunami Alert! Or, Why I'm Bullish on Romney


From time to time I have political conversations with people (I know, big surprise). A couple of nights ago I sat with a group of guys and the topic turned to things political. I probably talked too much (sigh), and hopefully people were not too bored (or, more likely, I suppose, offended). As Christians, however, it is important for us to have conversations about controversial cultural and political topics like, for example, same-sex "marriage" and to think deeply about what our faith would require of us.

Without fail, everybody I talk to is very nervous about the November elections. When I articulate my decidedly "bullish" mood about November, I often get the reply "I hope you're right," but it is always said with a large dose of skepticism.

I believe fairly strongly that this is going to be a Tsunami election, and that Mitt Romney will ride a gigantic wave that will oust Barack Obama. It will be so decisive everyone will be very surprised on the morning of November 7th. While overconfidence is something to be studiously avoided (as Glenn Reynolds always says, "Don't get cocky, kid"), I want to provide reasons for my somewhat more conventional confidence.

First, the polls. I am by no means a polling expert, but I do read a number of them--guys like Jay Cost and Nate Silver. Polling is an inexact science, but not worthless by any stretch. Generally speaking, political candidates who start claiming that the polls are "skewed" are almost always losing. But that doesn't change the fact that they are skewed at this point in the race. Here's why:

Pollsters are largely operating on 2008 turnout models. In 2008, when "The One" swept into office in a messianic fervor, the Democrats enjoyed a substantial lead in party identification. More self-professed Democrats voted than self-professed Republicans. This is why the polls can, as of now, claim legitimacy when they oversample Democrats by +7 or +9 points.

By way of contrast, in the midterm elections of 2010 you might remember that 63 Democrat representatives were sent packing from Washington, D.C., joined on the out-of-town rail by 6 of their Senate colleagues. This was an electoral bloodbath for Democrats, and the party identification of the voter turnout was way closer to even. It hardly favored Democrats at all, much less by +7 or +9 points.

Now ask yourself: will this election resemble 2008 or 2010?

This leads to my second point. Here is something the legacy mainstream media cannot bring themselves to face. When they do think of it, even if for a fleeting moment, they quickly put it from their minds because it is (for them) a terrifying truth:

Every single voter who showed up to run 63 Democrat representatives and 6 Democrat senators out of office, every single one, simply cannot wait to show up to do it again. The 2010 elections were simply the warm-up act for the Tea Party. These people have been desperately waiting for November 6, 2012. Do you think the rage of 2010 dissipated like some kind of Occupy Wall Street demonstration? That's the left's fantasy. The true object of Tea Party anger still occupies the Oval Office. 2010 was simply something to do in the meantime, while waiting for the day when they could cast a vote against Mr. Obama himself.

I believe this is common sense. I do not believe a single Republican or Tea Party 2010 voter will fail to show up on November 6th. Each and every one is relishing the chance. I do believe, on the other hand, that many, many people, now soundly disillusioned by how hollow "hope and change" turned out to be, will decide to stay home, if not actually cast a vote for Mr. Romney. 

This is a recipe for an even bigger Tsunami than 2010.

So why am I bullish on Romney's chances? Because even with a +9 Democrat turnout advantage calculated in the polls, Barack Obama is running dead even with Romney. Common sense, as I've just argued, tells us that the turnout advantage will be slim to none in November, since the Republican side will retain every single 2010 voter. If you take away the Democrat oversampling, which I think truly represents reality, Barack Obama is losing by a fairly large margin right this very minute. That is, before Mitt Romney has spent any money. Before the conventions. Before the debates. Before he has even introduced himself to the American people. Before the campaign has even truly begun. Mitt Romney is launching the campaign this week in Tampa, Florida, in what I believe is a commanding position considering he is running against a powerful incumbent.

The prospect of 2012 resembling 2010 instead of 2008 (which I believe it obviously will) ought to be giving Obama and his staff cold sweats. Victory is well-nigh impossible for Obama under these circumstances.

Third: Look at where President Obama is campaigning. In states he won last time. Check the Presidential itinerary. It will tell you very clearly whether Obama thinks he's ahead or playing catch-up. Every day he spends in a state he won in 2008 is a day he is losing, desperate to shore up his base. In August, he campaigned in Wisconsin, Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, Florida, and Virginia. All states he carried last time. This may not seem like a big deal until you factor in this fact: Mitt Romney is campaigning in these states as well. He is not busy shoring up states John McCain carried in 2008. Romney is on offense; Obama is clearly on defense.

Fourth: look at the specific issues. Obama's ace in the hole, an attack on Romney and Ryan's plan for Medicare and Social Security, is not having the effect he hoped. After an initial onslaught of advertising by the Obama campaign, Romney is leading among senior citizens. Not a good indicator for the incumbent. What about the "war on women"? Surely abortion will sway large numbers of women toward Obama, right?  Wrong. Married women prefer Mitt Romney by a 55% to 40% margin.

What does he have left? Two months of "Mitt Romney is rich"? He is fast running out of distractions from 8%+ unemployment *, $6 Trillion of debt, $1 Trillion deficits, and Obamacare. The left is grasping at anything, anything at all that will distract from this abysmal record. So now we get a brand-new "birther" controversy because Mitt Romney told a joke. We get the "racial codes" attack over welfare. This everything-including-the-kitchen-sink approach is getting embarrassing, and I do not think the Obama campaign has enough shiny objects left lying around to distract the American people for another two months. And, again, every single voter who contributed to the 2010 electoral bloodletting will not, and cannot, be distracted.

* Do you remember George W. Bush's first term?  I do. I remember America slowly coming out of the 9/11-caused recession. Remember what the Democrats and the media were saying in 2003? They were screaming (sometimes literally) about a "jobless recovery"! "Where are the jobs, Mr. President?" From their rhetoric you would have thought George W. Bush's unemployment rate was worthy of impeachment. What was that number?  6.0% was the high-water mark. Unemployment under President Obama's tenure has never been below 8%. Never mind those bromides against "jobless recoveries." I guess.

A friend worriedly said to me last night: "There are a lot of really stupid people."

My answer? "Yes, there are. But not nearly enough."

I predict we will awake to that reality on November 7, 2012. A Tsunami is coming. The pundits and pollsters who think a 9 point Democratic advantage is realistic will be shocked. But I won't.

Brian Mattson